Our family, team Bright Tomorrows, attended the Lymphoma, Leukemia Society annual walk last night. Sugar House park was filled with people! They had music and Rubios food and lots of stuff for the children leukemia patients like bouncy house, face painting, cotton candy and popcorn. We got t-shirts and was able to make a banner for our team to carry during the walk. We all got balloons, red for supporters, white for survivors and gold for those that have passed away. We all walked as a team around the park with our balloons illuminated and behind our sign. As we were all collected waiting for the walk to start, I couldn't help but notice that there weren't very many white survivor balloons. Especially adult ones. There were alot of gold. That to be perfectly honest scared me a little because it brought reality into it. Of course there wouldn't be very many adult survivors of lymphoma, especially the kind that Stephen has. It brought tears to my eyes as we started the walk and as I looked ahead and saw Stephen holding Kaiah and pointing out the big balloon arch I caught a sadness in his eye. It only lasted a second then of course the smiles and laughter took over but I saw it, I know it got to him too. The walk was kinda long (1 1/2 miles) so we had time to walk and talk. As we arrived at the finish line, the staff and volunteers were cheering and clapping for each team. Kaiah and Ari thought they were clapping for them personally and started smiling and clapping back! Our little team was able to raise $400.00 thanks to donations from Gary and Robyn, Donnie and Lynn and Mary and Dave! And of course Kamie selling candy bars! When we left they were still tallying up the totals but at that point were up to over $200,000.00! We are definitely going to make this a yearly tradition but hopefully will not have a gold balloon on our team for years and years and years! A special thank you to Stephen's sister Mary and for his brother Donnie and Lynn who came in support. It means more to him than I think anyone will ever know. I can't help but feel a sense of sadness though, his brother asked "where are the rest of our siblings". Stephen replied "maybe they are busy". But then he made eye contact with me and in his eyes, it hurt. I hope that in the future, there is no more look like that. A special thanks to our team who was there - Kasie, Jer, Kaiah and baby, Kamie, Alex, Ari, Jaylene, Bill, Mary, Donnie and Lynn. Thanks for loving Stephen. Here's to tons more of Bright Tomorrows and only white balloons....no gold.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Today marks the 2nd year anniversary of the passing of a great man Roberto Ari Zamora.
He was the father of my son-in-law Alex. His body fought hard but ultimately stupid Cancer won. I only had the honor of meeting him a few times but this is what I remember and smile about .....
He loved Stephen's cooking.....
He understood more english than he let on cause he would laugh when Alex would say something "dirty" to Kamie....
He would always smile when he greeted you with this big open mouth smile...just like little Ari..
He loved to ignore Alex's mom and would pretend he couldn't hear her....
He was a fighter.... and never gave up.
Alex told me stories of how brave he was. How he stood up for his rights and had to spend a year in jail for it. How he escaped Cuba and came to America to find a better life for himself and to raise a family. How he worked so hard and raised 3 wonderful boys and gave them freedom of being an American citizen. He did all of this and barely spoke and English.
I want you to know you did a tremendous job. Your son Alex is perfect for my daughter.
He works so hard to make her happy and to provide her and little Ari with everything they could ever want or need. He has excelled in the church, that he had left your home and Boston to pursue. This year, he blessed his son and gave him a name, your name, and took his family to the temple so that they can be together for eternity. He loves his son and lights up whenever he sees him. He becomes this tender teddybear whenever he holds him and sings songs to him and doesn't care who hears him. Your namesake looks just like you. He is the light of my daughters life and ours. He is such a sweet spirit and just loves to laugh and be held and cuddle. I hope you are proud of your legacy.....
it is amazing.
Always loved....Never forgotten...
Sunday, August 28, 2011
One year ago, the most amazing thing happened.....a little boy entered our lives and made us smile. Ari Alexander Zamora came into this world and our lives immediately became wonderful! He scared us all at first, had to spend some time in the NICU, we spent countless hours holding him with the BILI blanket on but it was totally worth every minute of it. Ari is the sweetest baby you could ever meet. His smile involves his whole face and you can't help but smile back! He looks so much like his daddy (except for the blonde hair) and acts so much like his mommy. He loves to be held and to cuddle. (which grandma loves the most!) He is definately a grandpa's boy. His favorite thing in the whole world is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and starts laughing and smiling everytime he sees Mickey come up the side of the hill at the start of every show. He already attended his first movie - Winnie the Pooh of course with mommy and grandma with Pooh in tow. Right now, just about everything that is in his hand, goes into his mouth. The funniest thing has got to be his vampire teeth.... he got his eye teeth in before any other ones so he looks like the Count!
Thank you Heavenly Father for sending our family this sweet, precious spirit. We have been so blessed since you let this light into our lives. For that, we are eternally grateful.
Happy Birthday Bubba! Grandma and Grandpa love you more than you will ever know! We can't wait to see what this next year brings in your life, we are just excited to be a part of it!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
We went on this past Thursday and had the follow up visit and results read to us on Stephen's last CT's and if chemo was successful!
Well, somewhat. It did cause the cancer to shrink. Not by much mind you but still it got smaller. For instance, one of the cancer nodes went from 3.8 cm to 3.3 cm. Another one went from 3.5 to 3.0. There were a few that had not changed or grew slightly, 2.1 to 2.3 . So you see, tiny in size, yet a success right?! However, his Dr. wants to keep things at this size for as long as possible so she suggested that we do the "R" part of the chemo that he had been receiving (Rituximab) every 60 days for 2 years. Every other chemo, we will do another round of CT's and lab work to check to make sure that they are staying this size and that new one's are not forming. She does not promise that this will make him live longer, or that it will keep them this size or stop new ones from forming but it is worth a try right?! So sept. 1st, we will be on the road back up to Huntsman to see those beautiful chemo infusion nurse's and say......"we're back!" we had better bring them chocolate!
Monday, Stephen will be going in for surgery to take out the filter that saved his life this past Easter with the pulmonary embolisms. He still has a clot from his mid thigh to mid calf but he is at super high risk for infection and it is safer to have this removed than to keep it in. So tomorrow we go! Won't it be great if someday we don't have to talk about cancer or chemo or stupid stuff like that? Just fun memories of family and living life! Keep fingers crossed k
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Last week we ran away from home...all the way to Las Vegas!
We took my brother Gary and his wife Robyn with us, they had never REALLY been to Vegas (Marie style)
We headed out on monday and arrived later that afternoon.
That night we ate in style at the Wynn Buffet. The Wood duo didn't like it much but then they are the weird ones that doesn't like sea food.
Marie however was in HEAVEN! Crab legs galore!! We all ate til we were sick and had to be rolled out of the door. Then we decided to take them to Old Vegas and let them see the way it used to be. Freemont Street upheld it's end and Gary had a great time watching the Queen light show. Robyn found out she was lucky and on a free $5.00 slot machine won almost $70.00! Stephen apparently didn't want to be shown up and played the same machine and won $96.00 ! Gary let's just say should never gamble again, cause he is really bad at it.
We then spent the next day roaming around the forum, paris, bellagio, planet hollywood and then topped off the night by seeing the magic of Penn and Teller. It was fun and entertaining and a really big day for Stephen and we almost killed him off. Robyn though thought that he was getting too much attention by being ill and decided to do something to her back where she could barely move. So you had Gary and me, two youngsters wanting run and do it all and great grandma Robyn and Old man Stephen who could barely move and took turns using the wheelchair. Good thing we love them. The next day we spent shopping at the outlet stores and bought things for grandkids except Gary who had to buy a new phone cause he dropped his and killed it. That night we went to Tony and Tina's Wedding dinner. It was hilarious ! It was just like every bad wedding you have ever been to. The mother of the bride made fun of us Utah polygamist ! Even though Gary tried to tell her we weren't. The food wasn't very good but the wedding was fun. The next day had to be taken a bit slower....ya know, the old folks that were with us. But it was still fun and that night we went to the Cirque de soliel show Viva Elvis. For all of the dancers out there.....GO SEE IT! IT WAS WONDERFUL!! For all of you non dancers.. GO SEE IT! YOU WILL LOVE IT!! I have to say, I have seen quite a few cirque shows and this one is one of the best! I thought it would have been tacky but it was just the opposite. Then we left for home the next day.....sad. Stephen had fun, no chemo, no talk of cancer, no having to stay home and do nothing...... and he actually was pretty lucky in the casino! After that initial $96.00 he won, he won another $180.00 then on the way home put in $5.00 in mesquite and won $50 ! The Wood fam had a great time too! All the way home, we were planning our return trip and many more!
After one week of being home, having to go back to work and bills......
I think it's time to runaway from home again.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Stephen and his Chemo "buddy" his brother Don who never missed a session or lunch!
The Infusion nurses singing to him!
more singing "Happy graduation to you, your chemo is thru...."
His graduation diploma! It says "This certificate is awarded to Stephen Bright in recognition of completing chemotherapy treatment. Best wishes and love from the Infusion room staff. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow!
the gift of a blanket with hope on it! and everyone clapping for him and his accomplishment!
The Payne Family are now Homeowners!
They just signed and got the keys to a beautiful new home in Orem! ok, so it is far enough away it takes me 1 hour 15 minutes to drive BUT....it is only 1 hour and 15 minutes to their house so I can see Buggie! It is the cutest thing with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a laundry room upstairs by the bedrooms! How cool is that? We are so excited for them! Center Stage Dance is 1/2 block away so Kaiah could walk to dance practice! Now that makes it worth it right there!
He was FINALLY able to finish chemo and had his graduation complete with a diploma, the infusion nurses singing to him, a blanket with the word hope sewn on it, a hug, then the words...now go away and don't ever come back! (as they wiped their tears and smiled)!
His lab levels were still low but the Dr. wanted him to do it so we would have the best chance ever. It seemed like it would never come. He was supposed to be done on May 19th but because of his hospital stays and being so ill, he wasn't able to get it done til June! But he is over it now and I could never be any more proud! We won't know if it worked or if it was even worth it til July 5th when we go back for the big tests and ct scans. The Dr. did mention radiation but we will cross that bridge when we get to it. So here is to the bestest things in life....
New Homes and New Hopes!
and to nurses saying
Don't ever come BACK!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
25 years ago I was scared to death!
my baby was in distress and they were starting me early...4 weeks early
now that's not such a big deal...back then....scary!
I was told she might not make it and they said "wait, let her see her baby before we take her away"
everyone in the room stopped...they all looked at me. I remember looking around at each one of them and then my eyes turned to her.....she looked up at me from the incubator and looked at me as if saying "it's going to be ok mommy, let them take me away and make me better so I can be with you later." I will never forget that moment....and to tell you the truth every single time that beautiful little girl looks at me with those huge eyes as if she is saying still "it's going to be ok mommy." She has been my rock, my hero, my "pooh" friend, my snuggle bug, my laughing buddy, my meat eater, my silly face, my big heart, my smile that lights up the dark, my baby.
I love you.....more than you will ever comprehend. I will forever cherish your life and all of the amazing things you have accomplished. And.....I can't wait to see what is in store for you!
Thanks for making my life complete and my heart whole!